The real Little Green Man from Mars is alive and well and living in Appalachia.

The Truth Is a Lone Assassin by Jonco Bugos

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Secret Scribes

Being a former Martian with an intact but dwindling memory of that previous life on Mars is the reason I look at things a little differently than regular Earth people who began life's big journey on Earth. For example, if I asked the average man or woman from just about anywhere on this big blue marble if they thought writing on anything but paper was weird they'd probably look at me as if I was the proverbial "little green man from Mars". Or else they'd just walk away and go write something about me on a wall somewhere. Something I'd never do, being the former Martian that I am.

You can probably guess where this blog post is going. Yep. I'm still not used to the fact that a lot of Earthlings — and nearly all American Earthlings — love to write on walls and on just about every other forbidden surface, for that matter. I find that rather curious since no one seems to want to write on paper anymore, which is what paper was invented for. OK, there was sand and clay before the Egyptians invented papyrus and before somebody in Greece turned that into paper, but the real history of writing took place on paper. Not on bathroom walls, sidewalks and cafeteria table tops.

I still ask myself why people who have no interest in putting a pen or a pencil to paper anymore pull them out to write on surfaces that they're not supposed to write on. I mean, sometimes Earthlings will even resort to carving their initials or even graphic messages or symbols onto a wooden surface in a state park or playground with a knife. Instead of writing it on paper. But I think I've answered my own question here. It's not so much the desire to spontaneously express themselves through writing as it is to give in to the unavoidable urge to do something forbidden. And to leave their mark on a world that forbids writing on anything but paper.

Earthlings even gave that kind of forbidden writing a name. Graffiti. And then, adding insult to injury, the Earthlings who wrote most of the graffiti began using cans of spray paint instead of pens and pencils and crayons and Magic Markers to write their messages with. And to mark their territory with. In fact, they wrote so much graffiti that large portions of American cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are virtually covered in forbidden writing and graphic symbols, some of them grotesque images of private body parts. The people who don't write on walls and bridges and subway trains finally realized that they couldn't stop the people who do so they just gave the graffiti another name. Graffiti Art.

And now that most of the world writes on CRT and LCD and liquid plasma screens, you'd think that the urge to write on bathroom and subway walls, sidewalks, the inside of city buses and just about anywhere else that is forbidden territory would have lost its appeal. But that doesn't seem to be the case. I guess Earthlings were just born to mark their territory wherever they go. Except me, of course. I was born first on Mars, where there was no territory. And I guess that's what made me so indifferent about writing on public surfaces and so keen on writing where people are supposed to write.

Still, every now and then, I find myself fighting the urge to put a piece of coal in my pocket and roam the downtown and residential areas of strange towns looking for a fresh, unmarked section of concrete sidewalk. Which goes to show you that living on Earth is an addictive experience that might take many lifetimes to overcome.